Saturday, October 9, 2010
Buddy Walking with Victoria
What a beautiful day it was for a Buddy Walk at Hank Aaron Stadium with our precious little Victoria! There were hundreds of folks in attendance and we all walked in honor of someone special in our lives.
I remember being nervous about going to the Buddy Walk last year. It was the first time I had ever attended that event. It was also the first time I had been around so many folks with Down syndrome in my life. I think I was nervous about seeing what Victoria might grow up to be like. It was another event that caused me to remember that my child was not "normal" and that she, indeed, had special needs.
This year, however, I was excited to be a part of such a lovely event. God has really softened my heart towards special needs individuals and their families. I realize that all of us parents just want our kids to be accepted and loved. There was such a moving moment for me during this year's Buddy Walk. As we rounded the field ending our first lap and beginning on our second, there were volunteers that were lined up along the sidelines clapping and cheering on all of the walkers. I had signs that we held up that said, "Walking in honor of Victoria Jayne." The volunteers read the signs and cheered for Victoria. They said, "Yeah, Victoria! Go Victoria! Great job, Victoria!" I about lost it. I realized that they were doing what I pray that people will do for Victoria every day of her life. They were cheering her on and supporting her. What a powerful picture of acceptance! That is all the parent of a special needs child wants ... for their child to be loved, encouraged and embraced.
I cannot tell you the love I felt toward all the little Downs kids I saw. I just wanted to hug them all! And, on top of that ... I wanted to hug all of the parents and let them know how special they are to love their kids the way they do!
This is an interesting journey I'm on and I'm enjoying it more and more every day. I realize that I've changed in the process. In walking down this path of faith, God has given me an even greater desire to minister to those who find themselves in situations that they would've never dreamed up for themselves. Maybe they are not sure why they have been placed where they are, but friends, God has a wonderful plan! They may not always see the hope in that plan, but it IS there! And, my prayer is that all of us are brought closer into a "real" relationship with our Lord because of our journeys!
Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I KNOW the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope!'"